Beethoven: The Complete Piano Concertos CD review – a fleet-fingered labour of love

Stewart Goodyear (piano), BBC National Orchestra of Wales/ Constantine (Orchid Classics) Beethoven will not suffer from the collapse of his 250th anniversary celebrations. How much harder for the musicians whose year has been built around his music. For the Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear, Beethoven has been a lifelong project. Aged three, he listened to an entire 12-LP set of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in a day. At five he set to work on the symphonies, the box set a legacy from his father who died a month before the pianist was born. Would this deep obsession give his Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos , with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Andrew Constantine, edge or distinction in a crowded market? Yes. The results are fleet-fingered, insightful and imaginative, capturing an essential sense of improvisation in the cadenzas (Goodyear is also a composer). The slow movements have a powerful inwardness, whether in the extended lyricism of No 3 in C minor, or in the short dialogue between angry